This is a clever novel. Breslin has taken the biblical story of Esther and generally recreated it in the Nazi era. I was impressed with the author's skill. It's a great plot and a clever parallel to Esther's story.
There is a heroine, Stella (Hadassah Benjamin), who is taken into the service of SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt. She will be his secretary but he also has eyes for her. He is in command of the transit camp Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. She is powerless to halt the transition of her own people – on the way to Auschwitz.
She has an uncle, Morty, who she is surprised to see in the camp. He encourages her to have as much redeeming influence on the Kommandant as possible. And there is even the disgusting Captain Hermann, a man filled with ate toward the Jews.
The way Breslin has crafted this novel is downright clever. On its own it is a great historical novel. She shares in the Author's Note that much of the setting and events of the novel are based on historical fact. The character development is superb. The plot is believable and progresses very well. There is lots of suspense and some romance too.
This is Breslin's debut novel. It is so good I'll be eagerly looking for her next one!
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Club Network for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
Kate Breslin in her new book “For Such A Time” published by Bethany House Publishers takes us into the life of Hadassah Benjamin.
From the back cover: Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther
In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.
Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.
Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?
I think one of the darkest times in the history of the world was during World War II. Not only was Hitler trying to take over the world but he was also trying to exterminate the Jews. And one of the ways he chose to handle the extermination was through the concentration camps. Now here comes Hadassah Benjamin who is saved from death because her papers say she is Stella Muller. Now she works for Aric von Schmidt who does not agree with the things that Hitler wants him to do. It all builds to the finale when there is a clash of wills and someone has to be the victor. Needless to say there is a great deal of suspense in this story and it builds and builds to an adrenaline rush. Ms. Breslin really knows how to tell a story. Hadassah and Aric are outstanding characters with strong personalities that live on the pages. And, yes, “For Such A Time” is also a retelling of the Biblical account of Queen Esther, though if you don’t know that story don’t worry it will not affect your reading pleasure. On top of all this there is also a romance. I really liked “For Such A Time” and I look forward to more stories from the very talented Ms. Breslin.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I have read a great many books that I have enjoyed. Sometimes, however, a book stands out from the rest and I consider it exceptional. The most recent book to do that is For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. As I understand it, this is her debut novel. This novel takes place during the Second World War in Czechoslovakia. This is not even my favorite time period for book settings. It’s a very desperate time and not a place I like to escape to for my reading pleasure. However, when given the opportunity to review this book the synopsis intrigued me. An Esther retelling during World War Two sounded too interesting to pass up. I am so glad I didn’t. The author started every chapter with a verse from Esther. Now it did not necessarily follow the timeline of the Biblical Esther, but each verse at the beginning gave us just a hint of what we might expect to read in a particular chapter. I absolutely enjoyed the unfolding of the Esther story. It was at times dark and sad and a bit scary as I did not know how these characters were going to make it. I was so very curious on how she was going to make me care about her “hero” who was the SS Kommandant in charge of the transit camp. I also wanted to see how Hadassah/Stella was going to grow and care about her captor Aric. There is a love story and a very good one at that. It almost has a Beauty and the Beast feel about it. I highly recommend this book. It is one of my favorites of 2014 and I look forward to more novels by Kate Breslin. I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. (TBCN) and the opinions are my own.
For Such a Time by Kate Breslin is about Hadassah Benjamin. She is rescued from a firing squad by a SS Commander, Colonel Aric Von Schmidt. He puts her to work as his secretary. However, this requires she play Stella Muller and while so many Jews so near are suffering and dying, she is living quite well. Aric does indulge her on a few of her requests in trying to help her people, The Jews. She is eventually made to feel she is the Jews present day Esther, but she truly doubts this. The author presents each chapter with a verse from the book of Esther, and slightly presents it as following the story of Esther as told in the Old Testament.
This book gripped me from the very beginning. I have always been a lover of historical fiction, especially WW II. This story did not disappoint. The first half had me riveted to the pages, and I was awake till about two in the morning reading this great story. At part of the read many of the circumstances that occur seem a bit unbelievable. Though one is excited to see some positive things occur when all hope seems lost. Still, the unbelievable happenings, changes, and ending are the only reason for not giving it five stars. Yes, I personally like the ending...or most of it. Yet one knows it is a bit far fetched, yet always remember that fiction is just that...fiction. Some readers seemed shocked that parts were not historically accurate. Yet, I'm not. The writer has freedom in fiction to develop the story. This was truly an enjoyable one with some history to learn along the way. I didn't feel this story really connected to the story of Esther although that was the authors intent.
So don't expect this wonderful historical fiction book to follow non-fiction. Enjoy this story! I certainly did, and I will definitely be recommending this read of fiction. The author tells the true story of the concentration camp at the end which I really appreciated. I highly recommend that you pick up this read. It is a tremendous story, and the facts of the concentration camps and the cruelty to the Jews should not be forgotten. This is truly a gripping tale of a woman placed in a tough position, would you have the faith to risk your life for the sake of many others?
I was given this book through a The Book Club Network for my honest opinion which I have given.
Centuries have come and gone and yet we see history repeating itself. Instead of Queen Esther trying to save her people from certain decimation by the hand of evil Haman, we are witnessing the same murderous plot against the Jews yet during the Holocaust. For Such a Time is a 1944 holocaust retelling of the story of Queen Esther saving her people.
Hadassah Benjamin is saved from a firing squad only to be pressed into serving the enemy, a highly esteemed SS-Kommandant doing clerical work. Through her work and connections with a person in authority she quickly sets to work in trying small ways to make a difference for her people. She takes risks and learns to trust in God fearing no one not even death,"If I perish, I perish."
Though using Esther's story is a bit overplayed in the market, Kate Breslin was able to use that same story and weave it into her own unique tale. Her research was clearly evident as you could sadly, yet vividly picture life for the Jews during the holocaust. Her characters were also very well developed. Hadassah a.k.a Stella was a hurt woman who throughout the book finds her way back to God. Though romance did occur between her and Aric it wasn't a love at first sight thing, but she took a more cautious deliberate approach. How different yet refreshing to see a Nazi SS Kommandant portrayed with human being kindheartedness. He understood the wrong occurring around him and willingly sacrificed his life for others.
I greatly enjoyed For Such a Time and if you love an emotional fictional yet historically rich WW2 novel this one is for you!
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House, in exchange for this independent and unbiased review.
First I must say that I do not normally read WWII books. They are difficult for me emotionally. But I LOVE the story of Esther in the Bible, and with this title it totally intriqued me. I enjoyed this book. Some aspects of WWII were still difficult to read about, but I know those are important for me to know and remember. And the author didn't go into gruesome details, or really difficult situations that bothered me. Kate Breslin is a very good storyteller that made me feel very much a part of the story and setting. She portrayed the mixed emotions of the heroine very well so that I understood her conflict, but also how she could fall in love with Aric. It was a breath of fresh air to see a Nazi SS Komandant portrayed as having some feeling of kind-heartedness and seeing the wrong in what they were doing, as well as his willingness to sacrifice his own life to save others. I felt the book was a little long at times, but enjoyed the retelling of the story of Esther in a "modern" setting that I could understand. I thank Bethany House for sending me this book so that I could read and review it.
I really, really enjoyed this book! I would definitely re-read it again sometime in the future! I could not put it down and finished it within two days. The story is very compelling!
I won't bother going into details about the story since many reviewer have already done that. I will just state a few opinions of mine. I love this book for all of its faith, hope and love displayed. There were a few discrepancies here and there, but it certainly doesn't drag down the story or its five star rating from me. The story flowed well, the character were well developed and good descriptive detail.
Although it is completely fiction based on the truth of WWII and inhuman treatment of Jews, I think the author did a very good job blending it altogether without making the whole book overly depressing. Too bad the heroics of the characters didn't happen in real life.
Overall, I highly recommend this book! Just the right balance of love, faith and hope for a WWII novel! Now only if it could be made into a movie.... :-)
“For Such a Time” is a great book! The setting is World War II, in Czechoslovakia. Author Kate Breslin has added her own fiction to a very real and painful story. I must admit I had a hard time putting this book down. The story centers on Hadassah Benjamin and her many secrets and lies as she tries to survive. She cares deeply for her own people, and tries desperately to understand how the Nazis can be so cruel to the Jews. This book has some thought provoking situations. For example, if a person can save just one life, is the risk worth it? How about three lives? Five? Is it fair for one person to have food and warm clothes while others do not? How can a person decide who gets to live and who goes to the gas chambers? I can’t express too many thoughts without giving away the story and the things that Hadassah eventually learns, but I can say they were very eye-opening. I felt that the character development in “For Such a Time” was great, and the point of view changes were smooth and kept the book interesting. Each chapter of this book contains a verse from the book of Esther, comparing her life to that of Hadassah’s. I believe this book is a great reminder to us that many, many Jews did not get a “happily ever after,” instead they had their loved ones and their lives snatched away from them with brutality and unfairness. I received this book from “The Book Club Network” in exchange for my honest review. I would definitely recommend this book!
I had such a hard time putting this book down! With every life precariously hung in the balance and the tension thick and taut through each sentence, it kept me riveted to the pages, devouring each and every chapter until the final, dramatic end.
My heart broke along with Hadassah, through every trial she had to go through, and the pain she had to endure. While this is a fictional story, it is placed during World War II, so the circumstances the Jews faced were very real. It is hard to imagine having your family torn away from you, and watching your friends, neighbours, and fellow human beings treated no better than a disease that had to be eradicated. And as my heart was breaking, I also felt the righteous anger that rose up within Hadassah. She could not, would not, stand by and allow these innocent people being led like sheep to the slaughter. She had to do everything she could to save them.
A moving and heart-pounding story, For Such a Time is certainly not forgettable. And it is one that should not be missed.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
This is one of the most touching and beautiful love stories that I have read in a very long time! I have read several books based on the story of Esther in the Old Testament. Never have I read one whose genre is more appropriate than the story of Stella ( a beautiful, secret Jew who has been saved from the horrors of the concentration camps) and SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt ( the Nazi commandant of Theresienstadt concentration camp). Since we are familiar with the horrors of the Holocaust, we can begin to relate to how difficult Esther’s predicament was in trying to both face the imminent danger to her people and the power of life or death the king had over her. When we first meet Stella she has just been snatched from certain death in Dachau by Colonel von Schmidt. Aric was drawn to her for reasons unknown to him and she is now in his protective custody. God had a plan to both save her people and Arac’s soul. Uncle Morty has seen the salvation of his poor people at Theresienstadt by her in a dream. Will Stella, ( Hadassah Benjamin) find the courage and faith to complete this mission or will she succumb to the cruelty of her captors and completely lose faith. This is the author, Kate Breslin’s, first novel. If this is any indication of her work, she has a wonderful career ahead of her! She portrays the horrors of the Holocaust without delving into the terrible details which are often hard to bare. Having taught and attended many workshops on the Holocaust, I was familiar with the farce of the Red Cross inspection of Therensienstadt. I made me sad that the realty could not have been the way the story portrayed it. Highly recommended! I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion. What a blessing this was!
Great book! I really enjoyed it! My biggest disappointment was realizing this book was mostly fiction since I so wanted it to be true. I found myself rooting for Stella, hoping she would make a difference to the Jews in Theresiendstadt and that she would not get caught. With each turn of the page I never knew what would happen next – I was riveted to it and could not put the book down. Yes, I know that a huge number of Jews died in concentration camps – yet all did not. Would these Jews be saved? Would Stella’s savior help her or turn his back on her? I received this book from TBCN in return for my honest opinion.
For Such a Time is the debut novel of Kate Breslin and absolutely my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! A retelling of the story of Esther set against the backdrop of WWII and a German concentration camp, Breslin weaves a compelling, heart wrenching tale that had me turning pages late into the night.
Hadassah Benjamin, under the guise of Stella Muller, is rescued from a concentration camp by a high ranking SS official Colonel Aric von Schmidt. Stella soon finds herself working as Schmidt’s personal secretary at another concentration camp with the unique opportunity to save some of her people. Along the way Stella struggles with fear and self doubt while trying to save as many Jews as possible without giving away her deadly secret.
Stella was a very well developed character but it was Aric that really stood out to me. How difficult it must have been to write a hero that readers would love and be invested in when he is serving as a Kommandant in the vile SS. I thought Breslin did this wonderfully though. I really cared about Aric and understood his inner turmoil over his growing reservations and doubts as he came to know Stella and see the Holocaust through her eyes. The romance between Stella and Aric was well written also. This particular love story needed to be handled very carefully and I think the author did just that.
I will definitely be recommending this title and am looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.
***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. ***
This is Kate Breslin’s first novel and it is wonderful! I was very excited to read this book for two main reasons - I enjoy books set during WWII and I was curious about how the author would incorporate the story of Esther. I am very happy to say that I was not disappointed in either aspect! Her attention to detail really brings the story to life, making it seem as though you are actually there, living it with them - which is kind of sad sometimes, since the novel is set in a transit camp for Jews. Ms. Breslin brings out a different aspect of the War that we generally try to ignore, or perhaps forget. I struggled with a few parts of the story that broke my heart for the people who actually lived through it. While this is a fictional account of a transit camp, there is much reality that weaves through it. The author definitely did her research to make this as realistic as possible. This isn’t a light read, or something to just randomly pick up and read a few chapters. It pulls you in and you feel compelled to keep reading to see what will happen next. As I already mentioned, this book is an adaptation of the story of Esther, from the Bible. I know, you’re probably tired of these novels. It seems so overdone and most of us just want authors to move on and pick another story to focus on. But, I must applaud Ms. Breslin for her creativity. She did an excellent job of bringing this well-loved Bible story to life in a new way that captures your attention and quickly draws you in. Hadassah Benjamin, or Stella Muller as we know her for most of the book, is a very real character. At the start of the book, I just wanted someone to hug and protect her. She has been abused, tormented, and fears what will happen to her now. I enjoyed watching her come to life and begin standing up for herself. Stella is a bold character from the start. She doesn’t always think before she speaks, making me wonder what she might say next. She has little faith left and is just trying to survive when she is pressed into service as a secretary for a German officer. She must figure out how to continue her façade, especially when continuing means she must betray her people. Aric von Schmidt is the “hero” in this book. I started out really wanting to hate him, mostly because he is a Nazi. But as the story progresses, I found I didn’t have it in me to dislike him that much. I wanted to shake him and tell him to get it together a few times, but he really is a good man. He is struggling just as much as Stella, just in a different way. He fought in the war before being placed as Kommandant at the camp and has no desire to send anyone to their death, but what choice does he have? This is what he asks Stella when she confronts him about it. The romance between them was rather sweet and didn’t seem overly contrived. It helped that Stella didn’t just “fall in love,” but thought about it, what it would mean. She is torn between her people and the man she loves. Aric is equally torn, because he doesn’t believe himself to be good enough and knows Stella plans to leave at the first opportunity. It also wasn’t made the main focus of the book, which I appreciated it. It was still there, flowing through the book, but other themes took precedence. I’m not sure I can pick out one distinct spiritual theme in this book. This definitely isn’t a “preaching book” as some label Christian fiction. The Christian aspect is there, but it is mostly about the characters finding and having faith. Stella believes God has turned His back on her, on them all. She lived the suffering of the Jews and witnesses it again while at Theresientstadt. I enjoyed seeing her slowly make her way back to God and begin to comprehend the Christian faith. For Aric, what he most craved was redemption, though he didn‘t figure that out for a while. He fears that God will never accept him after what he has done to His people. I also enjoyed his journey, as he starts to care more and more about Stella and then about the Jews. He isn’t the hard hearted man I thought him to be at the beginning. The only reason I’ve held back ½ a star from my rating is that I found the story a little confusing at times, as the point of view shifted. A few times it changed during a paragraph and I would have to read a few sentences to figure out whose view point it was now, then back track to catch up on what was going on. Thankfully, I can only think of 2 or 3 times when this happened. I found it disrupted the flow of the story, but each time it quickly smoothed back out. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys novels set during WWII. I received this book through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not received any compensation for it. All opinions expressed are my own.
The plight of the Jewish people during WWII has always been intriguing to me. I will never understand how a person can demonstrate such cruelty to others of the human race based simply on their nationality. That fact, made this book very appealing, although I understand that in itself, it is not completely historically accurate. This is Kate Breslin's inspirational fiction debut, so I would have to say for her first book she did a great job. I will be eager to read what she comes up with next.This book is a "modern day" story of Esther helping her people. In the story, a half-Jewish young woman, Stella, escapes suffering thanks to her captor/employer Aric, a SS-Commander. At first their relationship is quite rocky; understandably so, as she has suffered much at the hands of the guards in the prison camp. She is afraid and leery of him. After time, though, she is drawn by his character, and a relationship blossoms. Sometimes this may make you like the story and at times it may have the opposite effect. How will their relationship affect her desire to save her people from their plight? This is a tale of courage, redemption and faith, with many unexpected twists along the way. The author uses a passage from Esther at the beginning of each chapter although not particularly in order. A possible difference between this story and Esther, is that in the time of Esther the Jews believed in God and Jesus had not yet come. But in this modern time period, the author is taking Jewish people and integrating some of the Bible and Christian faith. It did make me wonder if their suffering could have drawn them to the Messiah and becoming Judeo-Christians or not? This of course has peaked my curiosity. Overall the story will captivate you and keep your attention. Definitely worth the read!
I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
For Such a Time is a retelling of the story of Esther,set in 1944, during the Holocaust. Hadassah Benjemin, forced to go under cover as Stella, is a Jew rescued from death in Dachau, a concentration camp in Germany. But being rescued by a German officer does not hold a lot of appeal to Stella. Forced to hide her true identity for the sake of her people, she becomes the Kommandant’s secretary. Suspecting that her employer a man of hidden depths she appeals to him on the behalf of her people. Eventually she falls in love with her captor/rescuer and sets to work trying to convince him to help her people. In my opinion this was certainly a modern version of Esther. I enjoyed the book and thought it well written, the author did a good job at expressing the desperation of a subject without quite dwelling on it. Overall I liked this book a lot and would definitely request it to a friend. But of course I have to knit pick certain things, therefore i give it a three of five. first of all, the story seemed to drag on. They had the same argument over and over. Second, there was a lot of kissing….. some people might dig this but it is not my thing. Last there was (as would be expected) quite a bit of violence. Not detailed gut churning violence but the strike-a-helpless-Jew-and-beat-him-half-to-death-for-stealing-food-for-his-family kind of violence. I would not recommend this book for anyone younger than high school at least. Other offensive contents might include, lusting thoughts, as I mentioned before; well described kissing, and detailed accounts of how the Jews were forced to live.
Again this book gets a three of five in the matter of the contents of this book. I would definitely request this book to fans of A Beauty so Rare, Tide and Tempest, Home For My Heart and the like.
This is Kate Breslin's debut novel, but you would never know. The story is a hefty 421 pages, but again you would never know the way they fly by. I decided to review this book because of the intriguing way it is presented, it is a parallel of the biblical account of Esther. Though it is fictional and the biblical account is not told in chronological order, I was in love with the flow and intensity of the plot. This story is so well written and knit together that it is easy to loose your self within the pages of this tale. On all levels I give this story a five star rating, something I rarely do!
The story is set in Czechoslovak during WWII in a concentration camp. Our Heroine is Stella, a Jewish woman, who unbelievably is rescued from execution by Nazi soldier, Colonel Aric von Schmidt. Von Schmidt treats Stella with kindness, and gives her the necessities of life. This is one complex and dynamic character, Aric has the tremendous and hideous task of being the Kommandant of the Theresienstadt camp. I really wanted to dislike his character but oddly I didn't, the same was true for Stella, she felt she should dislike this man but somehow she couldn't bring herself to hate him..
Risking everything Stella takes great chances to try and help those she can, and in turn learns much about the human spirit, her faith, and the God she serves. What happens when she can't help herself?
I love that each chapter of this book is opened with a verse from the book of Esther, giving the reader an insight into where the story is paralleling. This book has so many twists and turns and is by no means predictable, something that I found quite surprising considering the fact that you think you should know how the story ends.
Breslin does not sugar coat this story and it contains some disturbing and gory details of events that took place in this very dark time of our history. This is a hard but exceptional story to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from BakerBooks, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
There are some novels that are written by new authors which sometimes cause me hope that another great read is now available. Well let me assure one and all this is one novel to read and share. In fact, when I was half way through it, I knew a friend who would enjoy this too so I sent her a copy. I am thinking that anyone who reads this story will want to either buy a copy for someone or share their copy; it is that good. While the story written is set during WW II, the real backdrop is the biblical story of Esther found in the Old Testament in English Bibles. The real Esther was a Jewess who lived during the time of Babylonian captivity for the nation of Israel. There, through God ordained direction, Esther was chosen as the new queen. While queen, she learned of a great threat to her people, the Jews, and put her very life on the line in order to request of the king the sparing of their lives. To really appreciate the full impact of Esther, please take a few minutes to read the biblical account before reading this novel. The cover of the novel drew my eyes to it like a magnet, which caused me to read the synopsis which was published. When I learned it covered a personal favored time of history for me along with the theme being how God can use one person to save many I was hooked. I loved how the novel didn’t rush through the scenes; the author took pains to thoroughly describe the area of captivity. The other was the slow melting of hard hearts towards love or faith. I thought the authenticity of how hearts along with lives are changed very encouraging, showing that regardless of the time we live in God is always at work. Reading this novel was like sitting and conversing with an old friend, listening to time long past but not forgotten. The authors end note of what license she took to change a few facts to fit her story helped me to understand the difference between fact and fiction. For a new author I am astounded it is so well written, evidently well researched and a book that will remain in my personal library for years to come. It took me a little time to get into the flow of the story then when I least expected it the climax was amazing as well as the ending. Unlike other books, movies or TV episodes I wonder if a sequel or some other adventure not linked to this one awaits readers. I look forward to whatever writings Kate Breslin brings in the coming days as I hope she is already pursuing her next tale! In this work of fiction, the main characters are Aric, who is a Commandant of a camp and a highly decorated Nazi officer, who ends up saving a woman named Stella from being shot. He makes arrangements to see to her care and in time she is restored to health. Both Aric and Stella have secrets and deeply tattered and torn hearts not to mention shredded faith. Throughout the book readers will watch how God works in both their hearts and lives through dangerous and perilous moments. At times I held my breath, waiting to see if the characters would get captured or escape and how others would survive when faced with deciding whether to be of aid or not. I couldn’t help but once again be touched in my heart and soul, thinking about this time period and the atrocities many witnessed or experienced. I think we need constant reminders that we can choose to help those who are suffering or turn a deaf ear. Many people of various nations, whether sanctioned by their government or not, chose to help even if it cost them their livelihood, home or even their very lives. Today, we can choose to help those around us who are hurting, suffering, seeking, or afraid because of the times we live in when nothing is for certain. Like Esther in the Bible or Stella in this fictional story we all come to a crossroad where we must choose to either ignore or decide to stand and be willing to sacrifice for others. The book written by Kate Breslin is a compelling one. When readers are through, they will be so thankful for the novel and remember that they were born for such a time as this.
Ms. Breslin is a talented writer! This historical fiction is roughly based on the Biblical account of Esther except that it's set during the Holocaust. Character development and plot exposition are artistically woven into a great piece of storytelling. I had no problem seeing what the author wanted me to see and feeling what she wanted me to feel(especially during the kissy parts).
My only pause and why I would only give it one and a half thumbs up instead of two is this: To write a love story between a Jewess and a Nazi Commandant, the Commandant of Theresienstadt no less, borders on hurtful. In the true story of Esther, there isn't one verse in the Bible that would lead us to think Esther was head over heels in love with Xerxes, nor that Mordecai fully accepted him with welcome arms as his in-law. They accepted what they had to and overcame tremendous obstacles by making the most of a horrid situation. In "For Such a Time", regardless of how heartless the main man in the story acts, a passionate kiss reminds her of how she can't live without him. Right.
Then again, this is a romance novel. They aren't read to learn life lessons. They are read for entertainment. On that level this novel definitely delivers. I happily spent many hours all in a row to finish this one. Happy reading.
Possibly my best discovery yet this year in a debut historical novel, “For Such a Time” is a moving work of fiction. There is a romantic tension in this book that is so tightly woven throughout the story that I held my breath and only the pounding of my heart reminded me I was alive and reading. Stella is a captivating character coming into her own—a Jew living under the roof of a Nazi and he has no clue about her heritage.
The story strongly mirrors that of the Biblical story of Esther and I loved that about it. Set in a Nazi concentration camp, it’s heartbreaking to read what happens to the Jews and Stella’s striving to protect as many as she can, from the position she is in as a Nazi’s secretary.
It was the romance that grabbed me by the heartbeat and wouldn’t let go. I wouldn’t have expected the book to have such strong tension rife throughout the entire book, but it made for some pulsating moments. The book became near impossible to put down, and don’t plan on distractions during the last hundred pages of the book. I’ll warn you now: it’s impossible.
I would definitely highly recommend this title. A fabulous work of fiction with strong writing and even more captivating characters. I am incredibly impressed.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
I really enjoyed this book! Kate stuck to the story of Esther for the base of the story, but it wasn't just a retelling. There are key differences that make Esther's life and this story different and in so doing For Such a Time's ending was wide open for me. I didn't know what was gonna happen to these characters that I'd come to love. What does happen had me in a state of shock! This made me want to read the book of Esther again! A great read from a highly talented author! Her descriptions are fresh and not bogged down with detail. There where somethings that I personally wish were different. One being the glossary! There are two glossaries in the back German and Jewish but both of them don't contain all the words that are used and I really wish they did!!! Some of the words that aren't in the glossary Kate put in English further down the page, but it got a little confusing at times. There was more than one time that I turned to the dictionary and was disappointed when the translation/definition wasn't there. Second being the Esther verses that begin every chapter. I LOVED them but most aren't finished and "..." are used. They also jump around from chapter to chapter from 2 to 8 back to 3 and so on. Thirdly there was a strange part that said " 'More like Jewish tradition,' she said. 'On the sixth day, God created the first man and woman as conjoined twins.' " I don't personally get this and found it odd. And finally I wish Jesus had been mentioned more. God is mention throughout and New Testament verses are within as well as the words Jesus spoke in John 3:16, but I guess I wished Stella came to Christ more or in a bigger way. I understand why this probably isn't so because of her familial and cultural situations but I did REALLY love how much strength and comfort she finds in God's Word. These are just my personal things and I understand why Kate did some of them, but to give my honest opinion I felt I need to include them. Overall this is a VERY heavy tale filled with sadness, hope courage, Faith, pain, betrayal, surprises, love, loss, and Divine strength. The setting itself is a heavy time in history and Kate's description of some of the awful and horrific things that happened are so real they tore at my heart. I think this has made it to my favorite books list if for no other reason than the fact that it touched me so deeply! I highly recommend it.
Songs: "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin, "Blue Danube Waltz" by Vienna Symphony Orchestra, "Friling" by Lucette Van Den Berg, "Symphony No. 7 (8) in B Minor, D. 759, "Unfinished": I. Allegro moderato" by Leonard Bernstein;New York Philharmonic, "Carry Me" by Josh, Wilson "Raisins and Almonds" by Dorothy Olsen, and "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes Songs etc. may be changed/added in the future.
John 3:16, Matthew 5:44
*I Received this book for the purpose of posting an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings about For Such a Time. ~ASC